Or is it actually foundational to the very idea of criminal justice?
I have been convinced of this position ever since reading [The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment](https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/ResJud/1954/30.pdf) by C.S.Lewis. He makes the good point that, if retribution is abandoned completely, deterrence and even rehabilitation can be achieved equally well by targeting the innocent as the guilty. If the concept of desert is removed, why not lock up the pedophiles before they assault anyone?
This is a really good piece.
I'm a believer that criminal justice reform and reducing mass incarceration is one of the important challenges facing America today. But I also believe that having folks like Chloe Cockburn and Alec Karakatsanis be the leaders of this movement guarantees that it will never, ever happen.
I think criminal justice reform and a reduction in mass incarceration will only happen if it is led by folks who don't demonize the police but see them as allies whose performance needs to be dramatically improved and who recognize the dimensions you describe in this piece; how retribution is an important element of restorative justice.
Thanks for articulating this so well Noah.